CHXFX – Transcranial Targets

Vinyl LP and Digital Download. Released by Castles in Space: 12/05/2017

We are living through difficult times. We need a soundtrack to help assist/resist the fight. CHXFX was prescient enough to foresee the turmoil. The Hellish world events that are being brought to our overloaded brains. Our sleepless nights. Our worries, frets and panics. However, we can resist. We can find a way through the madness. We can make the changes that need to be made, but we need a soundtrack. You have found it.

This album was released digitally for a week in 2015, and then got pulled. The blackness was not yet deep enough upon us. And then things got darker. It is now the time to unleash Transcranial Targets to the sensible, the knowledgable the optimistic. The heroes among us must stand up and be counted.

Only the brave may apply.

David Henson has a fantastic back catalogue. NOCHEXXX: Planet Bangs (Alien Jams) / PLOT DEFENDER (Type) and THRUSTERS (RAMP), but this is a lost document rescued from the electromines. A blow to the head that you may never recover from, but will return to again and again.

Deep from the Shire of Cambridge, the genius Dave cooks up the magic in his laboratory to which nobody is allowed access.

CHXFX is in the best way possible uncategorisable. He produces noises that reflect our lives today. It is the most modern take on BBC radiophonica that you will ever hear. Resonant and unbelievably current, it’s an alchemy all of his own making, but he’s not not letting any light in on it’s creation to the likes of us. David has a truly independent vision which he takes to the end of the line, but then brings us home again. Get on board. Wear a white lab coat.

This beautiful music, dystopian and urban/suburban in the extreme is complimented by some fantastic artwork by Zeke Clough. Once witnessed, you will know what the record sounds like. Electric Creeps stalk the land. They might be coming for you. Zeke and CHXFX took inspiration from a vision of a high temperature tropical hothouse concept of a post-asshole world in which the modified flora and fauna are attempting to build something from the ashes of a badly mauled planet.

The LP is pressed up in limited edition of 300 copies on orange splatter vinyl with an insert also designed by Zeke. All copies come with a digital download card.

Fast forward the future.

Look and listen to a specially prepared trailer for for the LP, created by CHXFX and Zeke here:

https://youtu.be/I5-Knv3NVGw

Released 12/05/2017.

Two Ragged Soldiers – /Asulya//Water

/Asulya//Water by Two Ragged Soldiers is  available to order from the Castles in Space bandcamp page.

A two track vinyl 7″, beautifully pressed on red and blue splatter wax.   It is a limited edition, one time only pressing of 300 hand numbered copies and includes a download card and an insert.

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Two Ragged Soldiers are Ian Glover and Samuel Ward.  /Asulya//Water is their first release.

Q. Who are Two Ragged Soldiers?

Ian – Old friends who met at college, didn’t see each other for a few years, then reunited. After a few more years of keeping in touch and a few false starts, we finally started making some music together and laughing at each other’s kids.  I’ve made four other albums whilst my wife waits patiently rolling her eyes.

Sam –  Two Dads with a rare gap in their schedules. After years of talking about it, Ian and I finally had the chance to work together last year and when the initial ideas took hold, it simply snowballed from there.

We first met whilst attending the creative hotbed of Burslem Music College back in 1993. Heads full of dreams. Full heads of hair. Bloodstream full of stolen gin.

Q. How, where and when do you work together?

Ian – There’s a lot of individual work in our own homes, exchanging files over the internet and making comments. Now and again we’ll hook up, try and out-do each others coffee making abilities and occasionally doing some work.

Sam – As Ian says, the core of each piece was developed in isolation and progressed through a series of phone calls, emails, Soundcloud links and Dropbox swaps. Once this necessary 21st century stuff was out of the way, we drank coffee, ate too much and got the families together at Hanley Museum (check it out. They’ve got a ceramic owl).

Q. /Asulya//Water?

Ian – I think of /Asulya/ as seeming to appear quite simple but it actually being quite complex and satisfying underneath. We were trying to make something that teases the listener into thinking the crescendo is about to happen this time around….but then it sneaks off and lies in wait.  /Water/ started with one of those happy accidents whilst casually noodling. For me it became a challenge to see how far we could push an arrangement without stuffing it full of changes.

Sam – Yes, /Water/ is certainly the most minimal piece we’ve produced and as such, it’s probably my favourite. Ian’s restraint with the arrangement here is one my personal highlights of the entire Two Ragged Soldiers project.  /Asulya/ is one of the more cross genre pieces that arose from the sessions. Both electronic and traditional instrumentation push together and I’m still not really sure who wins.

Working in isolation on a project like this can bring on occasional self doubt (questions such as “Is this just mental?” were pretty frequent), but realising now that we were on the right track is a great confirmation of what we are trying to achieve.

Q.  I believe that /Asulya//Water are extracts from a larger work entitled “The Mass”?

Ian – Yes, we are putting the finishing touches to ‘The Mass’ in order to complete and mix it. Then we need to figure out what to do with it. The album itself was made purely for the sake of working together and doing something without any set parameters. We threw a couple of ideas in tried to grow them naturally.

Sam – There’s still a little way to go before its polished off but ‘The Mass’ expands upon the themes visited in this record and encompasses a wide range of approaches. We’ve a few options with what to do with the eventual album but for the moment, we’re focused on finishing it over the coming month and finally realising the work we’ve both put in during the past year.

Q. Influences?

Ian – All the usual; music, films, books, life. Philip Glass, Morricone, Low, Neil Young are people I frequently find myself returning to, amongst others. Collaborating with people is probably the biggest motivator.

Sam – The influences feeding into Two Ragged Soldiers have been pretty wide ranging from my side. Obviously there’s a musical debt to the early work of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop but I’d certainly look to also include Traditional English folk, the conceptual composition of Cage and aspects of Steve Reich in there.

Q. The artwork for the single is brilliant, utilising an image sent back from comet lander Rosetta/Philae. How did it come about?

Ian – This was Sam’s baby. The Rosetta / Philae craft was – and still is – all over the news. Landing a craft on a comet – thats definitely inspiring.

Sam – The Rosetta mission was very much in mind during the production of the work and once the incredible images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko came back from the craft, I simply had to work them in somehow. Reports sent back to us through space is just a wonderful concept.

Q. The music is a hard to determine mix between traditional and electronic instrumentation. What’s your set up?  What instruments do you use? How do you record?

Ian – I have a small home set up; a couple of guitars, some software, a nasty midi controller keyboard…

Sam – My studio’s a little haphazard and I do find myself spending a lot of time fixing things. It’s primarily based around a Macbook, an old desk and a variety of old kit picked up from eBay, Cash Converters, charity shops and car boot sales. Seems to fit with how I work though…

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Hear more from Two Ragged Soldiers on their Soundcloud.

Order vinyl and digital copies here.

Tauchsieder – Herd The Shadows EP

Tauchsieder’s “Herd The Shadows” EP is still available to order from the Castles in Space bandcamp page. We are approaching the end of the run of this beautiful record, which once again garnered much interest and attention at the recent Independent Label Market on the 23rd July.

The 3 track vinyl 7″ is beautifully pressed on “shadow splatter” wax. It’s a limited edition, one time only pressing of 300 hand numbered copies.

It includes a download card and numbered insert.

https://castlesinspace.bandcamp.com/

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Tauchsieder are Stuart McLean, Ben Hayes and Innes Smith. 

Herd The Shadows features vocals and additional production from Colin Newman.

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Here’s a brief Q&A with the reluctant superstars.

Q1: Who are Tauschsieder?

Ben: Three people who should be old enough to know better by now.

Innes: Whoever Stuart & Ben let into their shack in the woods.  I’m just meat for their sound grinders. They’re terribly clever, but also very shy. Like Sentient Badgers.

Q2: How and when do you work together?

Stuart: After I made the “Instant Eno” plug in chain for Ableton in 2004/5 it led to the recording of (first album) “Quiet”. Everything is done on-line with us only ever meeting at The Dark Outside radio broadcasts.

Ben: How? By leaving things until the last second and then exchanging a flurry of sound files over the internet.  When? Not often.

Innes: That’s a really good question. I don’t know. I think of them as a Fertility Clinic and I occasionally deposit something with them. And then, I have no idea what happens next. The finished product appears and it’s still probably the milkman. Or the postman. I don’t think anybody knows. That’s the magic of Tauchsieder.

Q3: How did Colin Newman become involved?

Innes: Like the clergy, he got ‘the call’.

Stuart: Colin agreed after he challenged me to combine two Wire tracks to make a third.

Ben: Somehow he heard and liked our initial experiments back in 2005 or 2006 or whenever it was.  One thing led to another, as things very occasionally do.

Q4: Tell us about “Herd The Shadows”.

Stuart: It’s original title was “the length of a song by the band called Wire” at just over two minutes-ish – the title was terrible and Colin changed it accordingly.  It has no set tempo with the main noise being altered by changing from one resonator bank to another – the bass being played live over it.  It’s been remastered for vinyl especially for this Castles in Space release.

Ben: It’s a lost/forgotten/ignored/never heard of it classic from 2006.  Stuart did the noise.  I did the bass.  Colin did the vocal and lyrics.  Innes approved.  Konx-Om-Pax (Tom Scholefield) made a fantastic video clip for it.  The title is a cryptic clue to the lyric’s origins.

Q5: Tell us about (AA Side) “Moves Left”.

Ben: It’s a 2015 reworking of a lost/forgotten/ignored/never heard of it classic from 2006.  Stuart did the noise.  I re-did the bass, added the sequences, rhythm box and strange tape sounds.  Stuart added some radio FX and other fiddly bits.  Innes approved.  We might make a video clip for it, but no promises.  The title was an anagrammed cryptic clue to the lyric’s origins, but we removed one of the words from it, so it isn’t anymore.  And the lyric isn’t in it, anyway.

Q6: There’s more stuff already recorded.  What are the future plans for Tauschieder?

Ben: No future they say, but must it be that way?

Innes: Well, this I do know. We’re very probably going to probably do more. There’s been lots of talk about doing probably more, and we’re probably going to do that. I mean, I’ve got a guitar and everything. I might plug it in one day. And I can sing. But, well, we’ve got another few decades worth of procrastination left in us yet. There’s no need to rush things.

Stuart: There might be another FiniTribe Remix if we can finish it. Other than that we have no idea.

Correlations – Before The Heat

“Before The Heat”, the fabulous debut album from Correlations experienced some delays at the pressing plant, but has now arrived in all it’s glory. Released 17th June, the LP and digital are now available to order from the Castles in Space bandcamp site. It’s a limited and numbered edition of 300 copies pressed up on beautiful “full moon” wax. A digital download card is included with the record.

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Correlations are Neil Hale and Stuart Cullen (aka Pilote). Based in Brighton and Frome they have made a wonderful record which is a genre defining mix of electronics, acid, psyche, krautrock and acoustic folk. With vocoders.

Neil and Stuart have been releasing music under various guises for several years. Stuart’s last Pilote LP “The Slowdown” gathered a lot of acclaim and radio play particularly across BBC Radio 6 Music shows including Lauren Laverne.

“Before The Heat” draws on electronic influences from artists such as Cluster/Harmonia/Ashra to other favourites such as Felt, Nick Drake and classic psych-folk loner, Gary Higgins. The record was mixed with the assistance of old friend Simon James from The Simon Sound and Black Channels who have previously released a massively successful 10” EP on Dealth Waltz records.

Listen to tracks from “Before The Heat at:

https://soundcloud.com/castles-in-space-954241171/sets/correlations-before-the-heat

The LP and Digital versions can be pre-ordered at the Castles in Space bandcamp page:

https://correlations-cis.bandcamp.com/

Immediately forthcoming 2016 releases on Castles In Space include a new LP of wonderful urban hauntology from Concretism and a beautiful electronic LP from Australian Berlin School synth classicists, Kl(aüs).

The Seven Twenty

The Seven Twenty are a Cambridge based indie rock band comprising James Burling (singer, songwriter, guitarist), Stewart Harris (bassist, backing vocals) and Helen Robertson (drums).

By any measure, The Seven Twenty had a great 2015. They released their gorgeous debut LP and had a fantastic album launch party at the wonderful Cambridge venue, The Portland Arms. The band gigged extensively in support of the LP towards the end of the year and are scheduled to appear at Relevant Vinyl Shop and Cafe in Cambridge on the 23rd January. Check their facebook for more details of this and other upcoming gigs.

Despite only appearing in November, the LP made number one in the Stagger Indie best of the year chart. It also made the top five in Dave Hammond’s best of the year show on Cambridge 105.

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Both the LP and single “Haiku” are available in phsical digital formats from the CiS bandcamp page at https://theseventwenty.bandcamp.com/

The record is also available from Norman Records and Relevant.

“a bravery much like classic labels like Factory or Rough Trade”

http://louderthanwar.com/news-castles-space-release-three-great-new-titles/

It’s been a busy month…

Listen/buy here. https://castlesinspace.bandcamp.com/

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You won’t believe what we have coming next year. Can I say “lifetime ambition achieved?”

The Fabulous World Of Gary Cook

The Fabulous World Of Gary Cook. Vinyl LP and Digital Download.

Released by Castles in Space: Midnight 27/11/2015.

Available from the Castles in Space bandcamp site: https://garycook.bandcamp.com/

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Barrow-in-Furness is a small insular working class Northern town situated at the end of the longest cul- de-sac in Britain. To go South, you need to head North. You don’t travel through Barrow, your journey ends there. That’s what makes the town and it’s people so unique.

During the mid 80’s, if you had been in a pub in Barrow and a guy with a mop of raven black hair was playing guitar with some backing tapes, that would have been Gary Cook. The thriving Barrow music scene during this period was a remote outstop of weird indie, electronic, psyche, alt-pop, post punk, indie and rock. Gary Cook was at the very heart of all of it. He was Jade Angel, Tripwire, Barbiehead. He was always hiding behind a new name to catch people out.

Gary was a catalyst and a key member of many Barrow bands in a highly inventive and competitive scene. All of these endlessly rotating bands and their swapping-in-and-out musicians had one thing in common, everyone loved and respected Gary. He was talented. He drew, painted, sang, played guitar, bass and keyboards. He worked primitive drumboxes, wrote fantastic, observational lyrics and created a lot of wonderful, bittersweet music. He was sampling and recycling on the most threadbare, begged and borrowed equipment at the dawn of the technology becoming available.

This record has been compiled from an archive of cassettes left behind by Gary. Unheard outside of one of the remotest places in England and even then, not by many people and not for 30 years. A year in the making, putting together the record has been a joy, a headache and a heartbreak. There were many versions of some songs in various states of completion and sometimes just one, single, fleeting version of others. A haphazard jumble of multitudinous sketches and riffs. A constant, continuous tumble of output. He was prolific. This is what he did. Trying to pick the best versions and highest quality recordings has been tough and there’s more than enough material for another, alternative LP.

What we are left with is a brilliant set of lo-fi analogue electronic, guitar indie-goth-pop. Gary writes and plays everything and it’s a joy to hear his brilliant, observational songs. Sometimes camp, sometimes funny, often devastatingly honest and confessional. Always fabulous.

Gary died in Barrow, May 2006 from complications relating to a burst ulcer. He was 41 years old.

The record has been wonderfully restored and remastered by Thomas P. Heckmann at Trope, who is responsible for a lot of the Vinyl On Demand remastering.

The LP is released in a never to be repressed edition of 300 on red wax with black and white splatter. It includes a hand numbered insert with extensive sleeve notes, a download code and a signed and numbered fine art print of Gary painted in oils by artist John Duffin.

Digital copies are also available.

Listen to tracks from The Fabulous World Of Gary Cook at:  https://soundcloud.com/castles-in- space-954241171/sets/the-fabulous-world-of-gary

Buy from the Castles in Space bandcamp site: https://garycook.bandcamp.com/

Antoni Maiovvi – Seasons In Hell EP

Antoni Maiovvi. Seasons In Hell EP.

Double Gatefold Vinyl 7” and Digital Download.

Released by Castles in Space: 20/11/2015.

Available from Castles In Space at https://antonimaiovvi-cis.bandcamp.com/

AM7-sleeveAntoni Maiovvi will need no introduction. An originator and innovative leading light in the phenomenal resurgence of interest in Italio, Giallo and dark, sinister disco. He has amassed a huge fanbase and has a fantastic discography stretching back to his first releases in 2008. Currently back in Berlin, Bristolian Anton Maiof makes music that is beautifully dark, yet wonderfully uplifting.

For his final release of 2015. Anton has delivered a beautiful sequence of frosty electronic tracks on the double 7” E.P. release, Seasons In Hell.

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The track listing is:

A1: British Summer

B1: Missing

C1:Russian Winter

D1:Thalassa

IMG_0165Seasons In Hell is pressed up on half green/ half white wax for British Summer and half red/ half white wax for Russian Winter. It comes housed in a beautiful gatefold sleeve designed by Graeme Swinton featuring artwork from Danish abstract fine artist Susanne Butcher.

The record has been mastered by Alek Stark at Fundamental Audio and sounds incredibly punchy and detailed.

The EP is released in an edition of 300 with a hand numbered insert. Digital copies are also available.

Listen to tracks and buy direct from Castles In Space at label bandcamp page:

https://antonimaiovvi-cis.bandcamp.com/

You can hear much more of Antoni Maiovvi’s fantastic work, including a wonderful preview from his next album “Will To Powder” at his own Soundcloud page: https://soundcloud.com/antonmaiof